• Paul Harnik - Earth & Environment
Assistant Professor of Geosciences



Office: Hackman P126



Professor Harnik is a paleontologist interested in the origin and maintenance of biodiversity in the world's oceans. Harnik received his Ph.D. from the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, after which he conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center at Duke University. His scholarship has concentrated on the biotic and abiotic drivers of extinction and speciation over geologic time, in particular the evolutionary consequences of rarity. His current research focuses on using paleontological models to predict the response of modern marine ecosystems to current and future environmental change and integrating fossil and molecular data in macroevolutionary analyses.

His full CV can be viewed here.

Latest News

Story 11/5/2015

Mario presents a poster at the Geological Society of America...

Mario Williams ('16) presented preliminary results from our Hackman Summer research at the Geological Society of America annual conference earlier this week in Baltimore. It was fantastic to talk...

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Story 10/19/2015

Paleo lab students present at the F&M Fall '15 Research Fair

Paleo lab researchers Jared Brush ('18), Mario Williams ('16), and Morgan Torstenson ('18) presented their Hackman summer projects at the F&M fall research fair earlier this month. Their posters...

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Story 9/25/2015

Conservation Paleobiology Fieldtrip

Last weekend, students enrolled in Conservation Paleobiology took a fieldtrip back in time ten million years using Miocene marine fossils and sediments. On Friday, two F&M vans departed campus and...

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B.A., Geology, Oberlin College

Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago

Postdoctoral research, Geological & Environmental Sciences, Stanford University

Postdoctoral reserach, The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center


Conservation Paleobiology



 Finnegan, S.*, S.C. Anderson*, P.G. Harnik*, C. Simpson, D.P. Tittensor, J.E. Byrnes, Z.V. Finkel, D.R. Lindberg, L.H. Liow, R. Lockwood, H.K. Lotze, C.M. McClain, J.L. McGuire, A. O’Dea, and J.M. Pandolfi. 2015. Paleontological baselines for evaluating extinction risk in the modern oceans. Science 348:567-570. (* Authors contributed equally.) link

Hoehn, K.B., P.G. Harnik, and V.L. Roth. 2015. A framework for detecting natural selection on traits above the species level. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. link

Liow, L.H., T. Reitan, and P.G. Harnik. 2015. Ecological interactions on macroevolutionary time scales: clams and brachiopods are more than ships that pass in the night. Ecology Letters 18:1030-1039. link

Orzechowski, E.A., R. Lockwood, J. Byrnes, S.C. Anderson, S. Finnegan, Z.V. Finkel, P.G. Harnik, D.R. Lindberg, L.H. Liow, H.K. Lotze, C.R. McClain, J.L. McGuire, A. O’Dea, J.M. Pandolfi, C. Simpson, and D.P. Tittensor. 2015. Marine extinction risk shaped by trait-environment interactions over 500 million years. Global Change Biology 21:3595-3607. link

Harnik, P.G., P.C. Fitzgerald, J.L. Payne, and S.J. Carlson. 2014. Phylogenetic signal in extinction selectivity in Devonian terebratulide brachiopods. Paleobiology 40:675-692. link

Harnik, P.G., C. Simpson, and J.L. Payne. 2012. Long-term differences in extinction risk among the seven forms of rarity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences 279:4969-4976. link

Harnik, P.G., H.K. Lotze, S.C. Anderson, Z.V. Finkel, S. Finnegan, D.R. Lindberg, L.H. Liow, R. Lockwood, C.M. McClain, J.L. McGuire, A. O’Dea, J.M. Pandolfi, C. Simpson, and D.P. Tittensor. 2012. Extinctions in ancient and modern seas. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27:608-617. link

Harnik, P.G. 2011. Direct and indirect effects of biological factors on extinction risk in fossil bivalves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108:13594-13599. link

Harnik, P.G., and R. Lockwood. 2011. Part N, Revised, Volume 1, Chapter 24: Extinction in the marine Bivalvia. Treatise Online 29:1-24 (an online journal presenting chapters of upcoming volumes of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology). PDF

Harnik, P.G., D. Jablonski, A.Z. Krug, and J.W. Valentine. 2010. Genus age, provincial area and the taxonomic structure of marine faunas. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences 277:3427-3435. link

Harnik, P.G. 2009. Unveiling rare diversity by integrating museum, literature, and field data. Paleobiology 35(2): 190-208. link

Simpson, C., and P.G. Harnik. 2009. Assessing the role of abundance in marine bivalve extinction over the post-Paleozoic. Paleobiology 35(4):631-647. link

Harnik, P.G., and R.M. Ross. 2004. Models of inquiry-based science outreach to urban schools. Journal of Geoscience Education 52(5): 420-428. link

Harnik, P.G., and R.M. Ross. 2003. Developing effective K-16 geoscience research partnerships. Journal of Geoscience Education 51(1): 5-8. link

Harnik, P.G., and R.M. Ross. 2003. Assessing data accuracy when involving students in authentic paleontological research. Journal of Geoscience Education 51(1): 76-84. link

Ross, R.M., Harnik, P.G., Allmon, W.D., Sherpa, J.M., Goldman, A.M., Nester, P.L., and J.J. Chiment. 2003. The Mastodon Matrix Project as an experiment with large-scale collaboration in paleontological research. Journal of Geoscience Education 51(1): 39-47. link

Simonson, B.M., and P.G. Harnik. 2000. Have distal impact ejecta changed through geologic time? Geology 28(11): 975-978. link

Student Collaborations

Student Theses / Independent Studies/ Summer Students Advised:

2015. Jared Brush, Geosciences

2015. Morgan Torstenson, Geosciences

2015. Mario Williams, Environmental Science

2014. Rebekah Riemann, Geosciences

2014. Timothy Smith, Geosciences


  • Summer 2014 Hackman paleo scholars

Course Information

ENV/GEO 114 - Earth, Environment and Humanity

GEO 221 - History of the Earth

BIO/ENV/GEO 275 - Conservation Paleobiology

  • Conservation Paleobiology Weekend Fieldtrip